BY: BRENDA IMUS
FEBRUARY 9, 2001
E-MAIL ANSWER TO AN INQUIRER
Hi John [Name Changed],
Thanks for the input. I’m sure you’re going to experience a fresh sense of the Lord’s presence in your life; though He’s been with you all along, of course. I think He’s allowed many of us ‘outside the camp’ to be somewhat separated even from one another for a season… to seem like simple ‘world citizens.’ Because we’re not being all spiritual-minded all the time, we think we’ve backslidden. In reality, He’s just set us into a place where He wants us to perceive the reality of our Life in Him a bit differently. Haven’t put this much into words, but it’s something I’m increasingly, consciously aware of.
Why this separation, even from spiritual fellowship with one another? For a couple of reasons, I’m sure. One I’m aware of is that we need to learn not to even be dependent upon one another for a real sense of the Lord’s Spirit in our midst. We’re sort of like fish in water – we don’t know we’re in the water, and keep looking for ‘schools’ of fish to join so that we can be assured of our validity as fish. We run around assuring one another, and ourselves, that we’re REAL FISH. (Not like those ‘other’ schools of creatures that only THINK they’re the real thing…) The last move of those outside the traditional Christian camp seems to be our drawing together around a truth that isn’t a truth at all–but is a negative belief in the inherent evil of the organized church. Proclaiming such a negative message isn’t proclaiming the truth at all! It’s just another doctrine around which certain kind of ‘fish’ have gathered. Sort of a virtual reality church, organized around an anti-church doctrine.
The truth is, we ‘live and move and have our being’ IN HIM (the water), WHETHER WE’RE AWARE OF IT OR NOT, AND REGARDLESS OF OUR SITUATION IN OR OUT OF TRADITIONAL OR NON-TRADITIONAL CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP. He is the one who keeps us, surrounds us, give us our Life. But like fish, we don’t usually ‘feel’ the water around us. It (He) is just there. Being human, we keep trying to find ways to bring this spiritual reality into some kind of physical form that we can see, touch, feel. So we go to church (or not), plan regular prayer times where we ‘tell’ God our ‘needs,’ read, analyze and try to organize and understand the Scriptures, etc., etc. What I’m coming to realize is that NONE OF THIS IS NECESSARY. (I’m not saying we’ll never be genuinely led toward these outward acts – only that they are not a means to the end… because Jesus Christ IS THE END, AND WE ALREADY POSSESS HIM). We can relax, give thanks, not worry!
How do we know if we’re actually slipping OUT of the water through habitual sin? Like a fish cast upon the shore, or in polluted oxygen-starved waters, believe me, we’ll know! We’ll be gasping and choking and doing everything in our power to get back into that clean ‘water’ of abiding in Him. Would He leave us to gasp, and die, so helplessly? Of course not! We cry out in our spirits, He comes to rescue us.
The thing is, we expect His rescue to be associated with certain physical manifestations – more conscious prayer, more diligent study of the written Word, regular fellowship, etc. But of late, all He’s apt to do is come along beside us, cause us to be removed from the sin… and life, as we know it, goes on otherwise pretty much as normal. Because there’s no earth-shaking change in our attitude toward religious duties, we feel like we haven’t really ‘got it.’ Only thing is: we can breathe again. Hallelujah, we don’t appreciate what a joy that is in itself! It is LIFE!!!
Let me give you an example of how the Lord has been revealing His workings in my own life that might help you relax regarding your own ‘invisible but real’ relationship with Him. This morning I sat down thinking to approach Him in prayer… but my mind kept drifting toward a job I need to get done. Distracted, I decided to come up to my office and start work. I checked my e-mail to see if a particular inquiry I’d made in relation to that job had been responded to. Your letters were in my “in” box.
I often read such letters, and simply file them under ‘add to ministry e-mail list.’ I sometimes have a nagging sense of guilt that I haven’t been devoting more time to spiritual writing, or responding to the dear saints who take the time to write to me. I DO love you all so! My heart fills up with appreciation for the people of God. But I’ve had no sense of a distinct leading toward that kind of writing. In fact, I’ve been extremely busy with seemingly worldly personal and professional pursuits. But when I check with the Lord, I keep getting the sense this is what He has for me TO DO right now. It doesn’t change who I AM, in Him.
Daniel was a captive servant in the house of an evil king. Hosea (at the Lord’s command) was married to a whore. Amos was a sheep farmer, as was Jacob (Israel). Peter, John, etc., were fishermen. These were the things they DID… but it had no bearing upon who they WERE, except we can know that in some manner the situations they were placed in were planned by God, for His purposes. They were God’s people, living out their lives in THIS WORLD. They didn’t have to constantly pursue spiritual pursuits – in fact, few of them did. But being His people was an integral part of their everyday life, as it is ours, whether we scrub toilets or teach the Word. I’m beginning to comprehend (in the smallest way) THAT THIS IS THE WAY GOD WILL FILL ALL THINGS, THROUGH US. We do the Lord and the world, a grave injustice when we insist upon living in a constantly religious frame of reference. We’re salt, and God wants to sprinkle us all over the place, to add savor to EVERYTHING. Have you ever accidentally bit into a chunk of salt? No wonder so many folks find us ‘clumped together’ Christians – less than appetizing!
Anyway, as to my sense of how true ministry in the Lord operates… it is not by organized plan or design, but ‘as the wind bloweth.’ Did Elijah have a ‘monthly newsletter’? Of course not. In fact, some prophets only wrote one or two important prophetic messages, and were never heard from again! Went back to farming, or whatever it was they did for a living. I honestly didn’t know if, after the ‘male/female’ revelation and a few short prophetic words last year, I’d ever be used this way again. I DO know I don’t want to write anything ‘prophetic’ unless it is originated and motivated and FILLED with the revelation of Jesus Christ. Anything less is just ‘teaching,’ which is not my primary purpose in Him, or my gift to the body. I COULD teach, mind you, and it might even be useful to some of my brothers and sisters, by the grace of our Lord Jesus. But it would serve to vaunt my flesh (which is quite vaunted enough, thank you!).
However, your letter moved my heart. (Actually, it was the Spirit of God Who moved my heart, in response to His Spirit in you). I felt led to drop you a note of encouragement… but as I began to write, this message took shape. A prophetic word, good for nourishing the Body. I didn’t plan it, outline it, or even expect it. But there it (HE) was, making Himself known to/through this unwitting but willing vessel.
And what I’m coming to understand is that I am no more acceptable to God as I write this letter than when I am (for example) negotiating a good horse purchase, or helping someone learn to understand what makes a certain horse tick – or cooking my husband’s dinner, or buying a new truck. The ONLY THING THAT MATTERS is that my heart be in synch with the Lord… that I guard it for Him, and move away from those actions and thoughts that don’t feel right in my spirit, and follow those actions that DO feel right. In reality, there is nothing that is ‘unspiritual,’ if we are the spiritual people of God. He is preparing a BODY that will DO HIS WILL ON THE EARTH. Selah.
Glad I decided not to anchor myself in formal prayer this morning, but let the wind blow me around a bit, instead.
Love to you, John, and to you all.
I was just reading your article on “Strengthening Gifts” and remembering when I used to meet at the house of a sister, along with about 10 to 15 others. The Lord would bless us with the Spirit of Prophecy. She moved to another state and it has been so long since I have received anything like that.(It has been a long time since I have been able to, through my own sin). I felt my spirit thirsting for it now while I was reading your article but don’t know of any groups that meet in homes to seek The Lord for that purpose, of ministering to Him and each other like that. I was hoping The Lord might meet me at my need and might have something for me through you. I sense the same spirit in you that she had in her…one that loves to be used this way. Thank you and God bless you and multiply your ministry. John
FISH FOOD [Brenda Imus] 1